I first saw Ann during the summer of 1972. I was working on the University of Michigan grounds crew, starting grad school in the fall. I was on the grass cutting crew, but it hadn’t rained for eight weeks so there was no grass to cut. When we came in every morning, essentially we were told to go someplace and lay low. I chose the Undergraduate Library, where I sat and read plays all day. One day, tired of all that reading, I moseyed over to the Theatre Dept. to scope it out and heard a rehearsal going on in the Trueblood Audition, so I slipped in and sat in the back to watch. An energetic little man (more about him in another chapter) was staging a scene from A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. It was the scene at the house of Marcus Lycus, with the three courtesans. I couldn’t take my eyes off the girl playing Tintinnabula, who was a wonderful dancer and very beautiful. Of course, this was Ann.
Ann was not a theatre student — she was getting a degree in speech pathology – but she was one of the stars of the Ann Arbor theatre scene. I didn’t really know her very well, though, until after I moved to New York. I went to see a children’s play by David Mamet, Revenge Of The Space Pandas, at St. Clements, to see an actress who was in a play I had directed off off Broadway. Ann came to the play, too, to see her friend Margo Martindale (more about her in another chapter), and we reconnected. She invited me over to her apartment for dinner, and we really hit it off. I lived nearby, so I started spending most evenings there when I wasn’t at the theatre.
After finishing her degree, Ann had moved to Philadelphia to work at a hospital there, treating aphasia in people who had had a stroke. She missed the theatre, though, so she auditioned for a class at the Hedgerow Theatre. This was typical of her, thinking she needed to take a class. Ann had a huge inferiority complex. Well, after her audition they offered her a job on the faculty, so she taught at Hedgerow for a while in the evenings, after a full day at the hospital. Then a non-Equity touring production of El Grande De Coca Cola in Philly lost an actress, so the producer called the Hedgerow and asked if they could recommend anyone. They recommended Ann and she got the job. From that, she went into a production in Philly of Starting Here, Starting Now, a revue of the songs of Richard Maltby and David Shire, which got her her Equity Card. She then did a couple of seasons at the Philadelphia Theatre Co., playing Ophelia opposite John Glover’s Hamlet and several other roles, before moving to New York. When I reconnected with her, she was working as a secretary in a law office. She wasn’t even auditioning. Well, I viewed this as a huge waste of talent, so I made it my obsession to help her believe in herself again, and to get her back to the theatre. She was full of excuses. She said she couldn’t audition because she had a lousy headshot, so I gave her money for a new one. Then she decided she needed her hair styled before she could go to a photographer, so I gave her money for that. She spent my dough on vet bills for dogs she had rescued. She was an indefatigable dog-rescuer. Finally, she got her hair done and her new headshot, and started going to Equity open calls, mainly for musicals. In those days, open calls actually could lead to a job.
By this time, I was head over heels in love with her.
Around about then, she got her first agent. I took her to a French restaurant, A La Fourchette (which closed many years ago, alas), to celebrate. Bob Bennett, a stage manager friend of mine, had told me I had to see a show which was getting a lot of buzz, playing late nights after his show at what is now the Westside Arts Theatre, a revue about the Boswell Sisters called The Heebie Jeebies, so we went to see it. This turned out to be Pump Boys And Dinettes. What a night! After it transferred, I saw the show several times. It’s one of my all-time faves.
Ann finally got a Big Break when she was cast as Andrea Marcovicci’s understudy in the title role of the musical Nefertiti, which was to open in Chicago before coming to Broadway. Alas, the show closed in Chicago. When she got back to New York, she decided she needed a vocal coach. Bill Schuman, one of the top ones, told her she had to audition for him. At the time, Bill was the vocal coach for Evita, which was casting its first national tour. After hearing her sing, Bill called the casting director and said he had in his studio one of the greatest voices he had ever heard. She auditioned, but the producers decided to go with an actress who had done the role on Broadway since there was only going to be a week of rehearsals. Harold Prince’s assistant was starting to direct productions around the country, though, and he started to cast Ann; so she played Eva Peron at several theatres. I saw her at Theatre by the Sea in Rhode Island. She was astounding.
Her next Big Break came when she was cast in the ensemble of Les Miserables, understudying Randy Graff as Fantine. When Randy left for a week’s vacation, Ann went on. She invited me, and this was one of my greatest nights at the theatre. I still get chills when I hear her voice in my head, singing “I Dreamed a Dream.” She did the show for several months, then Trevor Nunn cast her in the ensemble of Chess, understudying the roles of Florence and Svetlana. Marcia Mitzman (Svetlana) was sick during most of the preview period, so Ann did therole, wonderfully. She then was cast as Fantine in the first national tour of Les Miserables.
While she was at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, she got a call to audition for a supporting role in a new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical which was opening in the West End, so she came back to New York for her audition. The casting director heard her sing and then asked her to sing a couple more songs. While this was going on, who should barge in but Lloyd Webber himself, wanting to know who that voice was. He took her into another room, played the score of Aspects Of Love and asked her to sing the songs he had written for Rose Vibert, the female lead. The next day, she was cast in the role, starring opposite Michael Ball.
Aspects Of Love was a huge hit in London, and Ann was the toast of the town. Well into the run, she was injured when a treadmill came on too early in a blackout while she was changing costumes. It caught the heel of her shoe and dragged her across the stage, jamming her foot into where the treadmill went back under the stage, mangling it. She was rushed to a hospital, where she got a big surprise: her insurance through American Equity wouldn’t cover her because she was not acting in an American show. She was part of the exchange program between the Equities. When the unions had set up this program, apparently what would happen if someone got hurt had never occurred to them. Her only option was to sue the producer, Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Company, and the theatre owner, Cameron MacIntosh. While this was going on, she had several operations on her foot, although she was told she would probably never be able to perform again, or possibly even walk. Eight months later, she opened on Broadway, wearing special orthopedic shoes designed for her foot. In London, the stage floor had been cobbled. On Broadway, the cobbles were two-dimensionally painted so Ann could walk.
By this time, Frank Rich of the NY Times had decided he had had it with “bloated British mega-musicals,” so he panned the show. Despite this, it held on, building an audience, so the Times began running negative pieces about it, trying to twist the knife. Although the show was nominated for a Tony Award, Ann herself was snubbed. Ann’s contract for Broadway was for six months, near the end of which Lloyd Webber decided he could turn the show into a hit by replacing Ann with a star. The role was offered to several stars, one of which was Patti Lupone, who told the casting director that she was unavailable as she was in a TV series and, anyway, she couldn’t sing the role. She said she knew of only one actress who could sing it. “Who?” asked the casting director. To which Lupone replied, “Ann Crumb.” She then called Ann and told her about this, which is when Ann learned that she was being replaced. Then Sarah Brightman, Lloyd Webber’s estranged ex-wife who had become a star when she played Christine in The Phantom Of The Opera, decided she would like to play Rose. She was angry that the film of The Phantom Of The Opera in which she was to play Christine was delayed and Andrew wanted to mollify her as the couple were in the midst of a contentious divorce, so he gave her the role. He then closed down the production and rehearsed Sarah for three weeks with a full orchestra and cast. He also reorchestrated the role, lowering it so she could sing it. It was the most expensive cast replacement in Broadway history. When Sarah was ready, critics were reinvited. They were unimpressed (particularly, Rich), so the show closed a few weeks later.
Meanwhile, Ann’s suit was settled out of court and she received a big chunk of money, which she used to buy the second floor of an old church in Brooklyn Heights, which she converted into a fabulous loft with stained glass windows and a cathedral ceiling. Her career, though, was irrecoverably damaged. She had become persona non grata to the casting directors, who were afraid of incurring the wrath of Lloyd Webber and MacIntosh. Was she blacklisted? It’s hard to say, but she it’s undeniable that she went from being considered for every show to having no auditions.
A year or so later, I got a call from Nancy “Pinkie” Bosco, Circle in the Square’s literary manager (as well as the wife of the great actor Philip Bosco). Pinkie told me that the theatre was going to do a production of a musical version of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and asked me if I could recommend anyone for the title role. They had done a workshop of the show with Melissa Errico as Anna, but had decided she was too young for the role. They had considered several actresses recommended by their casting director but felt none were suitable. Mind you, this was at a time when the casting directors seemed to have “forgotten” about Ann. Pinky hadn’t, though, and when I told her Ann was perfect for the role she agreed, and Theodore Mann, the theatre’s Artictic Director (who was directing the show) cast her. The show wasn’t very good, partly because Ted Mann was not an experienced director but mostly because the two guys who wrote it hadn’t seen Les Miserables. How can you do a musical adaptation of another great 19th Century novel without having bothered to see Les Miserables? Although the reviews for the show weren’t very good, Ann’s notices were excellent and she received a Tony nomination. Alas, Anna Karenina was Ann’s last Broadway show.
In London, though, she was still a star from Aspects Of Love. She played Louisa in the London premiere of Nine, opposite Jonathan Pryce as Guido Contini. There is a recording of this production on You Tube, so you can hear her thrilling renditions of Louisa’s two songs, “My Husband Makes Movies” and “Be On Your Own.” She also starred in the London production of The Goodbye Girl, in the role originated on Broadway by Bernadette Peters. Back in the U.S., she did tours, most notably a hugely successful one of Man Of La Mancha, in which she played Aldonza opposite John Cullum’s Cervantes/Quixote. I saw it in Baltimore and Ann received a screaming standing ovation at her curtain call. She was offered the role in a Broadway revival but then the offer was withdrawn when the producers decided they needed a bigger “name,” who turned out to be singer Sheena Easton. The show flopped.
Ann also did some work Off Broadway. She was excellent in a revival of RAGS at the American Jewish Theatre, in which she played the role originated on Broadway by opera star Teresa Stratas and was hilariously evil in a musical version of the film Johnny Guitar, although one legacy of that was that she injured her knee during a fight scene and eventually had to have knee replacement surgery. About this time, she started doing shows in the Philadelphia area, where she was sort of “local girl makes good.” She did Goblin Market at the Wilma Theatre and several shows at the Media Center for the Performing Arts, where she played Florence Foster Jenkins in Souvenir and Maria Callas in Master Class. The last show she did there was a scaled down production of Sunset Boulevard, as Norma Desmond, a role she had played two or three times before at theatres arund the country. Anne was a coloratura soprano, but in “New Ways to Dream” she went down into the depths of her range and was astounding. I blurted out, “Oh my God!” when she did this. I couldn’t help it. When she came out afterwards, she asked me “Was that you? I knew that was you!”
At this point, I have a few personal anecdotes about Ann to share with you. Ann loved Snickers bars. I always brought her a couple of them when I took her to the theatre. One night about eleven o’clock, early on in our relationship, my phone rang. I was in bed, asleep. I picked up my phone and heard, “Snick! Snick!” I got dressed and went out into a driving rain to find her some Snickers bars figuring, finally, this was gonna be my night.The entrance to Ann’s apartment was in the rear of a house. There was an alleyway which led to a heavy, black, steel door which opened onto the street. I rang her buzzer and heard her walking down this alleyway. Then the black door opened with a creak and I heard, “Did you get them? “Yes, Ann,” I said, and held up the bag of Snickers bars. A hand reached out through the door opening and took them. “Thank you,” she croaked, and then the door slowly closed with a creak and a clang. I trudged back in the rain to my apartment.
Ann could be quite a handful. She was, to put it mildly, time-challenged. Whenever I took her to the theatre she would always ask me what time she needed to be ready, and I would always tell her fifteen minutes before the actual time, in order to get to wherever we were going on time. She and her boyfriend Vince lived together when Ann moved to Brooklyn Heights, and he became one of my dearest pals, almost like a brother. Once, he told me, Ann was flying off to do a show, but she dithered and dithered. Vince kept silent, knowing if he bugged her about the time she would Just. Go. Slower. Predictably, she missed her flight. Vince helped her book another one, which was four hours later. Then he wished her a good flight and turned to leave. Ann was flabbergasted. “Aren’t you going to wait with me? She asked. “No, Ann,” Vince replied. “I want you to sit there by yourself for four hours and think about why it was that you missed your flight.”
As I mentioned earlier, Ann was a dedicated dog rescuer. She always had a least two – sometimes, three — dogs living with her. She would find dogs on the street, pay vet bills for them and then place them far and wide. She spearheaded the rescue of the dogs orphaned by Hurricane Katrina, hundreds of them, organizing caravans to deliver them to new homes all over the country. One day, I went over to her apartment to visit her and she asked me to drive her around Brooklyn Heights to look for a stray she had seen earlier in the day. After about two hours, we were unsuccessful in our search – but she wanted to keep going. It drove her nuts that she never found this dog. She paid thousands of dollars to kill shelters to hold off euthanizing dogs until she could find them homes. Let me tell you, there is a special shrine in Doggy Heaven dedicated to Ann Crumb.
Ann’s father, George Crumb, was a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer. He began writing vocal music, and Ann sang it all over the world and recording Grammy-nominated albums. She also had an act in which she sang jazz, performing this worldwide and recording an album, “A Broadway Diva Swings.” You can hear her on You Tube singing some of her father’s compositions as well as the best songs from her jazz album.
In 2017, Ann was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. She had it all cut out and went through chemotherapy. Finally, it was in remission; but in 2019, it came back, spread all through her. She started hemhorraging and was taken to the emergency room, but it was too late. She was brought home to her parents’ house in Media to die. I drove out there to see her one last time. She weighed less then 90 ponds and was so heavily-sedated it was like she was in a coma. I sat vigil along with Vince, her family and several friends. A day later she died, never regaining consciousness.
When I get to Heaven, I plan to look for her. I’ll just listen for the sound of barking dogs.
Theatre News: Wicked, The Wiz, Hypnotique, Female Troubles and Love In The Time Of Crazy
Broadway’s blockbuster Wicked, in partnership with National Day Calendar, has announced that October 30 will officially become National Wicked Day, in honor of the hit Broadway musical’s debut at the Gershwin Theatre (245 West 51st Street) on October 30, 2003.
This marks the first time that a Broadway show will have its own official day in the National Day Calendar. With this inclusion, Wicked joins some of the most recognizable National Day celebrations, including National Barbie Day, National Star Trek Day, National Scrabble Day, National Winnie the Pooh Day, and National Teacher Appreciate Day, among others.
Read the official announcement HERE.
Currently Wicked 4th longest-running show in Broadway history, and will celebrate its 20th Anniversary on Broadway this October 30th.
The Broadway production of Wicked currently features Alyssa Fox as Elphaba, McKenzie Kurtz as Glinda, John Dossett as The Wizard, Michele Pawk as Madame Morrible, Jordan Litz as Fiyero, Jake Pedersen as Boq, Kimber Elayne Sprawl as Nessarose, and William Youmans as Doctor Dillamond.
Emmy Award®-winning music director and Grammy Award®-winning writer, Adam Blackstone, joins the creative team as Dance Music Arranger for the revival of The Wiz. The Wiz will launch a national tour on September 23, 2023 in Baltimore, MD before returning to Broadway for a limited engagement in the 2023/24 season.
“Joining The Wiz’s creative team has been a very surreal moment. I remember watching the film on VHS daily for years, wondering how it sounded so incredible, how MJ transformed into the Scarecrow, and the score and orchestrations truly told a story all of its own. Fast forward to today, I get to musically partner with Terence Vaughn and reunite with my brother, super choreographer and creative director JaQuel Knight, and explore our own interpretation for a revival of this masterpiece. I am excited and look forward to this body of work changing lives, just like it did for me in the 80’s!” stated Adam Blackstone.
The cast will include previously announced Wayne Brady to lead the production as the Wiz on Broadway in Spring of 2024, San Francisco (January 16 – February 11, 2024) at the Golden Gate Theatre, and Los Angeles (February 13 – March 3, 2024) at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. Alan Mingo Jr. will star in the role of the Wiz in the following cities of The Wiz National Tour this fall, kicking off with the tour launch in Baltimore, including Cleveland, OH, Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, PA, Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, Chicago, IL, Des Moines, IA, Tempe, AZ and San Diego, CA.
The cast will also feature Nichelle Lewis as Dorothy, Deborah Cox as Glinda and Melody A. Betts as Aunt Em and Evillene, Kyle Ramar Freeman as the Lion, Phillip Johnson Richardson as the Tinman, and Avery Wilson as the Scarecrow. The Wiz ensemble includes Maya Bowles, Shayla Alayre Caldwell, Jay Copeland, Allyson Kaye Daniel, Judith Franklin, George, Collin Heyward, Amber Jackson, Jackson, Jones, Jones, Kindle, Mariah Lyttle, Kareem Marsh, Anthony Murphy, Rae, Matthew Sims Jr, Avilon Trust Tate, Keenan D. Washington, and Timothy Wilson.
The production will include ‘Everybody Rejoice’ music and lyrics by Luther Vandross, as well as the ‘Emerald City Ballet’ with music by Timothy Graphenreed.
The McKittrick Hotel (530 West 27th Street, NYC), home of Sleep No More, announced the opening of Hypnotique – A Late Night Sultry Spectacle. Performances have been extended on Friday and Saturday nights through October 14, 2023. The all-new Hypnotique revue offers a unique after-dark experience that envelops you. Audiences are captivated by spontaneous performances and mesmerizing dancers, accompanied by daring sonic soundscapes in a surreal ambiance in The Club Car.
The cast features Chloé Lexia Worthington, Courtney Sauls, Fabricio Seraphin, Haley Bjorn, Jacob Nahor, Jesseca Scott, Maurice Ivy, Maya Kitayama, Samantha Greenlund, Victoria Edwards, and swings Alex Sturtevant, Cameron Arnold, Kennedy Adams, and Stacey Badgett Jr..
Cocktails inspired by the experience, including the signature Hypnotonique (an electrifying punch made with cucumber-infused vodka, elderflower liqueur, and grapefruit juice), are available from The Club Car’s bar.
Performances are offered on Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30PM. General Admission tickets with standing room are currently priced from $65 per person.
Two industry readings for Female Troubles, an original musical comedy, will happen next week at Open Jar Studios. Female Troubles is a completely original musical comedy featuring lyrics by two-time Tony Award nominated and Grammy Award nominated songwriter Amanda Green (Mr. Saturday Night, Hands On A Hardbody, Bring It On), music by three-time Emmy Award nominee Curtis Moore (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), book by Emmy Award-winning writers Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden (“Veep,” “Arrested Development,” “Seinfeld,” “The Simpsons,” “HouseBroken”) and directed by Tony Award winner Christopher Gattelli (Disney’s Newsies, My Fair Lady, “Schmigadoon,” “Schmicago”).
The cast for the readings will includeKrystina Alabado, Kevin Del Aguila, Amanda Green, Lilli Cooper, Lillias White, Lesli Margherita, Ryann Redmond, Kate Rockwell, Matt Saldivar, Alanna Saunders, Trent Saunders, Jake Swain, Sav Souza, Rachel Stern and Frank Viveros.In Female Troubles, Elinor Benton finds herself surprisingly and undeniably “knocked up” — and, since she’s unmarried and this is 19th century England, she has a very big dilemma. Facing ruin, she and her girlfriends embark on a raucous journey to find the one notorious woman who can help them with their “female troubles.” Their misadventures change the course of each of their lives. This uproarious musical comedy asks the trenchant question “Can you believe this sh*t is still happening in 1810?”
I attended the reading of Love In The Time Of Crazy withbook and lyrics by Peter Kellogg (Outer Critics Winner for Desperate Measures), music by Stephen Weiner (two-time Richard Rodgers Award winner) and David Hancock Turner (orchestrator for Desperate Measures and Penelope), directed by Lauren Molina (Desperate Measures ). The cast stared Philippe Arroyo, Stephen DeRosa, Robin Dunavant, David Merino, Josh Lamon, Roe Hartrampf and Alexis Cofield .
Love in the Time of Crazy is a riot, but, you know, in a good way.
The Glorious Corner
WENNER TAKES A DOWN —Jann Wenner always speaks his mind and this week he may have overstepped just a bit. In an interview that ran in the New York Times about his new book called Masters, he quite openly said that there were no black or R&B artists in it, because they were not able to articulate properly. I know, I felt the same way reading that. Minutes later, he was let go by the board of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which he helped start with Ahmet Ertegun way back in 1983.
His Like A Rolling Stone autobiography book was quite an indulgent read last year, but Wenner has in the last several years suffered several health set backs and it was pointed out that he may not be in his right mind. Still, he should have spoken way more carefully. I’ve known Wenner for decades and trust me, he feels he’s way entitled, and that said, you can rest assured that there were dozens and dozens of people (and former employees) waiting to take him down.
The sad fact is that most of the accusations are true. That said, let’s face it Rolling Stone magazine in it’s heyday was a miraculous outlet for so much music and terrific journalism – from Ben Fong-Torres to Hunter Thompson and Jann himself .. it was distinguished. Now, he may have killed it all.
Rolling Stine magazine Monday posted this – essentially disowning his from the magazine: “Jann Wenner’s recent statements to the New York Times do not represent the values and practices of today’s Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner has not been directly involved in our operations since 2019. Our purpose, especially since his departure, has been to tell stories that reflect the diversity of voices and experiences that shape our world. At Rolling Stone’s core is the understanding that music above all can bring us together, not divide us.”
Here’s the report from Deadline: https://deadline.com/2023/09/jann-wenner-removed-rock-and-roll-hall-fame-foundation-board-1235548690/comment-page-1/#comment-3858649
DREW’S BLUES — Boy, what did Drew Barrymore ever do to deserve the treatment she’s been through with the media. Sure, her ideas to bring back her daily-chat fest was a good one, for the right reasons, but everyone from Rosie O;’Donnell to the trade papers have bounced on her like madmen. I never met her, don’t hate her, but really … let’s get back to something real, like these Russell Brand-accusations!
SHORT TAKES — We finally caught David Bryne and Fatboy Slim’s Here Lies Love and absolutely loved it. I remember it well when it premiered at the Public Theater way back when and knew they were trying to get it to Broadway. Honestly, I never thought twice about the Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos story, but the play was riveting then and it remains now. They’ve outfitted NYC’s magnificent Broadway Theater with disco-balls galore and club-lighting and the immersive experience is terrific. Here’s a great re-cap of the play’s evolution from Theatre Guide: https://www.newyorktheatreguide.com/theatre-news/news/how-the-music-of-here-lies-love-evolved-on-the-way-to-broadway …
Micky Dolenz appeared on Sunday’s Breakfast With The Beatles with Chris Carter (on KLOS) and talked about his new Dolenz Sings R.E.M. on Glenn Gretlund’s 7a Records. He also talked about his time with The Beatles and John Lennon. Carter also played a mash-up of Monkees and Beatle-songs which was done in England and it was superb. Here’s a shot from the event at LA’s Hard Rock Cafe on Highland and Hollywood Blvd. … SIGHTING: PR-pasha David Salidor and Benny Harrison at Monday’s Cutting Room tribute to Burt Bacharach … RIP Sammy Ash …
I’ve been thinking the best way to describe Jimmy Buffet and I saw this headline in LA Magazine: leisure evangelist– and it fits perfectly …
Happy Bday Donnie Kehr and Richard Branciforte.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Dan Mapp; Brad Auerbach; James Clash: Robbie Robertson; Carol Ruth Weber; Randy Alexander; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Andrew Gans; Kathy Brown; Roger Clark; Chris Boneau; Tricia Daniels; Dan Zelinski; Benny Harrison; Steve Walter; Gil Friesen; Donna Dolenz; Dan Mapp; Brad Auerbach; James Clash; and ZIGGY!
Inside the 2023 American Theatre Wing Gala
The American Theatre Wing 2023 Gala Celebration was held last night, September 11, 2023 at Cipriani 42nd Street. Performers incldued Oscar nominee & Tony Award winner Leslie Odom Jr., Grammy Award-winning rock icon Melissa Etheridge, Emmy nominee Tituss Burgess, “American Idol” star and Broadway favorite Justin Guarini, Tony Award winner LaChanze, Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper, and Tony Award nominees Shoshana Bean, Brandon Victor Dixon, Judy Kuhn, Lilli Cooper, and Eddie Cooper.
The Gala honored “Unsung Heroes of the Theatre Industry.” From dressers who execute seamless quick changes between scenes, to understudies and swings who go into a show with little to no notice and don’t miss a beat, to makeup artists responsible for the flawless faces seen on stage, and so many more vital contributors to the theatrical art form, the 2023 Gala celebrates members of the theatrical community who don’t often get the recognition they deserve.
The Glorious Corner
STRIKE UPDATE— (Via TV Line) “9-1-1, what’s your TV emergency?” The dual WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes need to be resolved by the end of this month if scripted primetime fare such as 9-1-1: Lone Star and The Cleaning Lady are to return with new episodes in the 2023-24 TV season, says Fox entertainment president Michael Thorn.
When last we tuned in, 29 days ago, the WGA had countered the AMPTP’s latest offer; no next meeting has been scheduled. Things are proceeding even slower on the SAG-AFTRA front. Sources tell TVLine that it will take scripted shows roughly eight weeks to get back into production once the strikes are resolved.
“You’re going get to a point in the fall, in the late fall, where it’s going to be very hard to launch [scripted shows] within the traditional TV viewing season,” Thorn told our sister site Deadline.
If the strikes are resolved later than October 1, that’s where difficult scheduling decisions will have to be made.
“If that means the [delayed scripted] show could work and succeed in the summer [of 2024], great,” Thorn said. Or, “If it’s better to wait for the fall and use football and sports” to promote/launch scripted seasons, “we’ll do that.
“You could use October 1 as the date” by which the writer and actor strikes need to be settled,” Thorn added. “Every show is different but sometimes when you’re staring at a May launch date, you always wonder, ‘Is that the best time?’” to premiere a season/series
Fox’s fall TV slate features one full night of scripted animated fare (on Sundays), while the rest of the week is rife with multiple Gordon Ramsay cooking competitions, new seasons of Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test, Name That Tune and The Masked Singer, 9-1-1: Lone Star reruns, the new, David Spade-hosted Snake Oil game show, and, of course, Friday Night SmackDown.
But whenever the magical day comes for live-action scripted fare to return to our screens, “we’re going to return those shows with vigor,” Thorn avowed. “We really pride ourselves on ‘less is more’ and we were fortunate to be able to really put our money where our mouth is in that regard. When we return, Animal Control is going to get the full backing of this far-reaching platform [as will] John Wells’ new show, Rescue: Hi-Surf, when we launch it.”
Several columns back we posited that the strike might just be settled by Labor Day .. and we were lambasted with emails from a scattering of actors, writers and below-the-line talent that it would not be. They were right. As Gordon Gekko said, greed is good. Is it? Let’s all make nice and good back to work.
SHORT TAKES — As you may know the Toronto Film Festival has been going on and the two films that have received the most buzz are the Paul-Simon/Alex Gibey doc,
In Restless Dreams and Knox Goes Away starring Michael Keaton, who also directs, with Al Pacino, can’t wait to see both. Bravo! …The latest episode of Hulu’s Only Murders In The Building was just OK. So far, this third season has totally underwhelmed us. We said a few columns back it was most likely due to the fact that Martin hasn’t written any of the episodes so far. Why? I have no idea. Matthew Broderick played himself, but with a little more anxiety than usual, but the real highlight of this episode was a video-phone call between Martin Short and Mel Brooks. Irresistibly funny … Hard to believe that it’s the 25th anniversary of MTV’s ground-breaking TRL Live (Total Request Live).
Carson Daly did a nice remembrance on Thursday’s Today Show, even citing John Norris and Kurt Loder, who were key correspondents. They taped many of the shows at NYC’s long-gone Palladium (now an NYU dorm), but many, many memories come to mind; Hall & Oates rehearsing in their dressing room
and running into Debbie Gibson is one. Daly pointed out -and rightly so- TRL was a fan-driven show, where viewers had to request what to hear. These days I guess it’s just a download. Much missed for sure …
Funny watching Carrie Underwood this morning; as she she reminded me so much of Shania Twain. from the music, to her visuals. As always, her “Before He Cheats” is tremendous and a big crowd pleaser … It’s a funny world for sure.
When RL Stine’s Goosebumpsfirst debuted in 1992, it was heralded as refreshingly new, both for the kid-demo and its brilliance. There were a few attempts at a series (even with Stine introducing them) and even a movie in 2015 that did just so-so. Now, with Netflix’s Stranger Things having hit a home run, Disney+ is starting a series, with Justin Long, that appears to veer dangerously close to Stranger Things. Also, oddly enough, Stine does not appear to be involved with it. He says: “I wish I knew something about it. I’m not in the loop. It looked to me like they weren’t going to do an anthology show. They were going to do something different that was some kind of continuing story. That’s what it appeared. But I have no information about it.” It begins on October 31. Have a look at the trailer:
Great Bernie Taupin interview on NY Live with Sara Gore. They’re friends, so the interview as sensational. Check it out:
NAMES IN THE NEWS —Andrew Sandoval; Jacqueline Boyd; Alison Martino; Robert Funaro; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Roy Trakin; Daryl Estrea; Glenn Gretlund; Jane Blunkell; Roger Friedman; Felix Cavaliere; Dan Mapp; Jim Kerr; Sam Rubin; Liz White; Grace Mendoza; Roy Trakin; and ZIGGY!
Voices: Stars for Foster Kids
On September 18th at 7:00 PM at The Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street, Voices: Stars for Foster Kids a musical benefit for You Gotta Believe, a NYC organization specializing in helping older foster youth find permanent, loving families will take place. Hosted by SiriusXM’s Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, expect a plethora of Broadway stars and performers, who will come together to celebrate the power of love and family.
Performers include; Rosie Perez, Bellamy Young, Ta’ Nika Gibson, Charlotte d’Amboise and Terrence Mann, Sharon Catherine Brown, Griffin Matthews and Matt Gould, Krysta Rodriguez, Anika Larsen, Norm Lewis, Gracie McGraw, Patina Miller, Brenda Braxton
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